It Was Only Last Year . . .

This weekend was such a busy one that I missed a date.  It might not seem like a lot, least not to you, but it means a great deal to me.

But rather than me tell you about it, please read the post from 26 July, 2011.

In case you didn’t read the post–and I think some of you will cheat and pass that link, even though I can see who is reading and who isn’t–that was an important post for me.

That was the post that said I’d finally had enough, and I was writing a story.  That story eventually became Kuntilanak, my self-published story that is just waiting for you to rush over and buy it.

Those were crazy days.  I started writing every day, getting my music set up for the morning before getting into the story.  Then I’d write and anally keep track of my word counts, and my words per hour production.  I’d blog about what I’d done.  Then, in the afternoon, Trusty Editortm would show up, and we’d go over the manuscript, looking for errors.

After a month I had a twenty-five thousand word story, a small horror story set on the island of Bali, with two protagonist who are not your everyday ghost busters.  I mean, the woman isn’t even seen taking a shower.  What kind of horror story is that?

Something more important happened then, however.  After I published the story in September, I decided to do something insane.  Not only was I getting ready for NaNoWriMo, but I started writing an erotic story that was later sold as Captivate and Control.  And I kept writing.  I’ve edited, I’ve written, and edited, and written . . .

I’ve even submitted a couple of things.  One rejected, one still in limbo, but they were/are out there.

I’m doing it.  I’m writing.

It’s been an interesting year.  All sorts of things have changed since that day last July.  Trusty Editortm isn’t around as much as they used to be, because things are always changing, but I still see them from time to time.

I’m working, and it’s keeping me very busy–and a little crazy.  There’s been a lot of ups and downs, but I’m still moving forward.

Mostly, I’m writing.  I’ve written nearly every day since, be it new material, or editing.  Take last night:  worked on Diners at the Memory’s End, and knocked off nine hundred fifty words, finished Part Fourteen, drove the story up over forty-three thousand words . . . all nice and neat, the way I like things.  Only four more parts to write, maybe ten thousand words, and this story is over.

It’s been a long story, and a long write.  Longer than I expected it to go, probably because this has been The Summer of Change, and when you talk about something putting a spin on your head, this has been the summer.

I still have a month to go, too.

I’ve got my priorities set up.  I’ve got things to do.  Maybe a year from now, I’ll write about something else . . . like being a near-famous writer.

One can only work towards the dream.

Slumber of the Aware

Back to the hole, back to work.  The week lay ahead, and there are plenty of things to do.

But first, lying in bed, in the darkness.  And enjoying it.  Yes, I was.  It was something I was told to do; if I wake up, and it’s dark, and I’m not sleeping, just lay there in bed and relax.  Don’t get up; don’t start making coffee; don’t start writing.

It was one of those half-awake, half-asleep moments I used to have a lot last year, but haven’t had a lot of this year.  2012 has been the year when a lot of things have changed for me, and that was one of them.  I used to love those moments when I’d be in a state of slumber, somewhat aware of what was happening around me, but never certain if what I was seeing and feeling was real, or a dream.

It was like that this morning.  I could sense things happening, I could hear things being said, but I’m not sure if I was thinking it, or dreaming it.

Maybe it was Cassidy speaking to me, since she seems to be with me a lot these days.  Maybe it was my Muse, who is also always with me, even when I don’t see her there next to me.  But whomever it was, the message was the same:

Remember Jim Butcher.

Allow me to explain:

A while back, Jim–whom some of you might recognize as the author of The Dresden Files series–wrote a blog post where he said, “If your dream is to be a writer, and you stop writing, you only have yourself to blame.  Only you can kill your dream.”

Which is right on.  No one else is going to take your dreams away from you.  Not your parents; not your siblings; your significant other; not your friends; not you cat–okay, maybe the cat.  If you throw up your hands and go, “Fuck it, I’m not getting anywhere with this, I’m going to chuck it,” then you have killed what you wanted.  You killed your dreams, and there’s no way you can point fingers at anyone else, because you know what “they” say about pointing fingers . . .

Yesterday I made a comment to someone that I was starting to feel as if I wasn’t getting anywhere, that it seemed like I was doing a hell of a lot of writing, but getting very little in return.  I’m not talking money here:  I’m talking about response.  It was getting me down just a little.

But the person I was speaking to said, “Don’t feel like that.  You’re one of my inspirations.”

Something like that stays with you, and it has, even to this morning.

Giving up is very easy; millions of people do it every day.  Being creative is hard; everyone who’s ever sat down with the intention of creating something, be it a painting, a story, a play, a movie, has found it to be something of a solitary affair.  You work in a vacuum, and never know if your effort is going to produce something that will make you proud, or make you want to put a bag over your head.

But you create because you want to do so.  You want to make something.  You want to live your dreams.

Do it.  Don’t stop.  Push on forward, and keep going.  Because the opposite is also true:  the only one who can keep your dreams alive are you.

Okay, maybe the cat can help . . .

Pantser on Fire

Am I busy today, or what?  I have another guest on my blog today:  Ellie Mack, out of the Show-me State, who’s going to show a little bit about how she goes about her writing process.  Take it away, Ellie:

 

 

Some Kind of Voodoo

By Ellie Mack

 

How do you do that magic you do?  For the linear thinker, it seems impossible to create tales of the fantastic.  Do I really want to let them see inside my methodology?

Beware for here lies dragons, leviathans, lycanthropes, and other mythical beasties. Inside the realms of my imagination, entire worlds are created.  Species, subspecies, and entire races thrive and coexist, usually not in peaceful harmony.

Years of creation fostered by an early love of reading have breathed life into the dark caverns, inside the magical caves, into the crevices where no light has ever shone to reach the minuscule monsters and gigantic gorgons. Bits and pieces from good books I’ve read were filed away to later be reanimated into a transmutated form from their original creation.

The material gleaned from fiction as well as information filed from life experience combine somehow in a huge swirling cauldron. It simmers it boils, it creates troubles and toils.  Oh wait, how did Shakespeare get in here?

Translate each of the little bits into, let’s say car parts. There’s a huge junk yard of  wrecked cars, worn out cars, piles of parts, a few rats and of course a couple dogs guarding the place.  Then let’s say you set off a bomb in the middle.  Ideally, when the dust settles the parts and pieces have combined to create a sleek cherry red Ferrari, completely assembled in the middle of  the blow back area.  Set off ten more bombs, and you just get shredded parts.

To get the Ferrari, the parts all have to come together just exactly right, birthed by the creation of chaos.  OK, look;  I’m making this all up.  How do I come up with ideas?  I don’t know.  They just pop in there.

How do I tackle the ideas?  By nature I’m a pantser.  I start off on a sprint, that often turns into a marathon.  If left to my natural tendencies my project will either be abandoned when the next brilliant flash happens, or the tale will be some 250,000 words plus.  I have taken my pantsing to the next level, by applying a plotters principles.

The ideas come, a burst happens, then I evaluate.  I begin asking what ifs and working out the story.  When I come to reasonable, not always rational plot points I outline my stories.  I break them down into scenes.  I usually write complete scenes, as natural breaks are between scenes.

Back to the original question: How do you do that magic you do?   By principled pantsing, and spark juice administered in daily doses over a long time.

I know, you’re scratching your head and wondering what sort of juice I’m really on.  I’ll never tell, it’s my personal label!

How do you work your magic?  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Ellie Mack lives in a small town near St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BS in geography/cartography. She has worked for Department of Defense, county government, as a substitute teacher, and various other jobs.  Her hobbies include reading, bicycling, playing Tombraider, and Dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and Zumba. Between being a mother to two teenage girls, a wife, homemaker, and a mortgage loan officer, Ellie writes paranormal romances.
Ellie’s first erotica piece is appearing on The Storytime Trysts Blog.

Ellie’s blog is found here!

 

After Class Unease

My characters lead such interesting lives.  Far more interesting than me, that’s for sure.  Then again, I’m not involved in something out of an anime . . .

I should feel lucky.

Saturdays become long writing days.  I put up Scrivener, get into the chapter I’m going to do, then leave it so I can put in words little by little.  Yesterday was blogging, then Part II of Removing the Tree, then a little bit of writing, then off for lunch at an Indian restaurant, then back for a little writing, then setting up guest blog posts, then outside to talk about the tree, then writing a guest blog post . . . and, finally, as the night wore on, really getting into Part Fourteen of my current work.

Part Fourteen is all Meredith, from her point of view.  It’s not going to be a long chapter, not as long as the preceding four chapters, which were all about Cytheria and Albert.  It was a bit tricky getting into Meredith’s head, because I’ve been out of it for so long, but she’s a good kid–a little seductress, to be sure, but when you see someone you want, go for it, right?

She does realize one thing, and that’s she can’t get Cytheria in trouble for . . . well, in an earlier chapter, they met for lunch, and one thing a person should never do is taunt the girlfriend/lover/partner of the guy you just had sex with if said girlfriend/lover/partner has the ability to kill you with her mind.

Which Cytheria came very close to doing.

Meredith could go to the agency that oversees Cytheria, or even go to the school and say, “Your professor of history tried to crush my body with her brain, I wanna file a complaint!”  ‘Cause now, they have to have a meeting about why the professor of history was crushing a student with her brain, and it all comes out that she was playing Ayeka to Cytheria’s Ryoko.

No, not a good place to be.  At least Albert’s the one with Ryo-Ohki.  You don’t want to give Cytheria her own spaceship, even if it is cute and eats a lot of carrots.

A thousand words in last night, making it a pretty good session.  I have something else I have to start writing today as well–how does this work out that I’m doing all this writing now?  I need to lay out a thousand or so words for an eight-part story, and I’m going to be flying by the seat of my pants on this one, as I only have a basic idea, and little else.  Sounds like fun, huh?

And it’s going to be a romance of sorts.  Okay, more like some semi-erotica.  Okay, more like a fantasy with lots of sex.  Maybe.  I don’t know.  Since I don’t have anything plotted out, it’s going to be interesting to see where this goes.

The long weekend is almost over.  Later today it’s back to The Undisclosed Location, and getting back to the grind.  Getting back into something like normal.

I hate normal.

Can’t we just play a little longer?

Serious Serializing

Today we’re coming from across the ocean, to the Land of the Olympics, and Joseph Eastwood is going to tell us about something that’s close to his heart–namely, what he loves to write, and how.

 

Standalone or Series?

I ask almost everyone this question at some point in knowing them, and there isn’t really a consensus. Some prefer series, and some prefer standalone. The Harry Potter books could not have been  just one stand alone novel–because it would have been a BRICK! While Stephen King mainly writes stand alone novels.

I’m a series novelist–I have (let me count) planned 5 series which accumulates 27 books. I have planned all 27 books roughly, or outlined them–I lead a very indoorsy life, in fact I rarely go out. I planned 12 of those books when I was 14-16 and I was absolutely horrendous at writing, but I’ve grown a lot since then, both in maturity and in my writing style, and now that I am 19 I am going to write all of these (well, that’s the plan anyway).

You might be asking, why have you planned so many series of books? Apart from staying indoors at all times, I like to make spider diagrams and brainstorm until the early hours of the morning (which I used to get told off about) and another reason why I like to plan and write them is because I’m no good at goodbyes and I get really attached to my characters that sometimes I think they’re real… *p.s. I’m not crazy… it’s a writer thing*

I also like reading series, they are my preferred choice–I like them because I know that when I’ve finished one book, I’m going to have another to read, whereas if it was a standalone novel I might want to read more of them, this is especially frustrating when you fall in love with a character, or absolutely hate a character and want to hate them some more .

I’ve enjoyed planning each of my series and so far I am enjoying writing them as well. I enjoy the character development that goes through the series and also the variety of characters that can be introduced.

And for all those people who are marketing savvy, writing a series is especially good because one book will lead to the next as one book alone out there might not sell as well, but that wasn’t the slant I took on the different series when I was 14 because in all honesty I didn’t have a clue about marketing and publicity. Now that I know, I’m sharing this little gem of information with you–so that’s why I prefer series, both reading and writing!

Okay–Question time! What do you prefer to write? And what do you prefer to read?

 

About Lumen

Lumen is the first in the four-part Blood Luminary series following the characters, Daniel Satoria, Jac Lister and Mia Crosgrove.

Daniel, like all other adolescents on Templar Island is going through the final transition that will allow him to manipulate the bonds of energy and do more than just tamper with his own biological form.

After a near-death experience he is accepted into Croft’s Academy, the only private school on the island and for someone like Daniel to gain access to such teaching is a privilege, and they won’t let him forget it. He tries to fit in, but that’s when things take a turn for the worst, and everything he once knew can’t be possible any more. He doesn’t know who to trust or what to believe.

SOON TO BE RELEASED!

Add to Goodreads

 

About Joseph

Joseph Eastwood is the eldest of five siblings. He lives and grew up in Lancaster, England, where he also attends the University of Cumbria, studying English Literature and Creative Writing.

He has always had a giant creative connection in his life, from drawing and writing to having an eclectic taste in music and reading a wide range of books, which he hopes reflects in his own writing. He also loves watching sci-fi, supernatural and fantasy based TV shows and films. Among some of his favourites are Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. As well as those he loves dramas, like The Good Wife and Desperate Housewives.

Joseph is either busy doing edits and writing or trying to get some university work done. He lives for creativity, striving to be different and thinking up new hoops for his characters to jump through.

 

Links

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Renewal and Reasoning

It’s nice being back in surroundings that are comfortable.  It’s comforting, to be sure.  And it’s keeping me focused.

But, as I said yesterday, there was a lot of running.  I was kept busy between bouts of writing; medical stuff, tree stuff, planting stuff . . . yeah, it was the sort of day that should tire you out, actually didn’t.

First off, though:  tree planting.  As I mentioned the other day, our large tree was hit by lightning, and we’re in the process of taking it down.  It’s half down now, and will come all the way down today, leaving only the stump to be removed some time next week.

Yesterday we found a new tree, and planted it close to the other tree.  Here’s it is:  the new alongside the old.  There has been much sorrow over the loss of our old tree, but with nature, one goes away, and another takes its place.  At the moment it doesn’t look like much, but in time it will be majestic.

We are also considering adding another tree to the front as well, one that would be to the left of the older tree.  Right now we’re in “looking mode,” but in a few weeks, we’ll likely plant again.

With all this going on, I was writing as well.  Part Thirteen, Diners at the Memory’s End.  I knew what I wanted to say, what needed to be written, and I got to work.  I started in the afternoon, but I wasn’t able to write all at one time.  Didn’t matter.  Not only did I know what I wanted to write, I knew I would finish the part.  It was time to bring it all to an end.

There was research to gather, however.  With this part, I think I’ve done more, “Wait, I need to look something up here,” than I’ve ever done with other parts of the story.  Nothing wrong with that, but it does slow you up.  But I did learn that something Cytheria was going to say would have been way wrong, so it was good that I bothered to get my information right before putting it into the story.

I also had to look at the map I created of Meredith’s home planet.  Yeah, I have that; it’s amazing what you can do with software these days.  Why was I doing that?  Because I had to find a place on her world where a particular event took place.  I found it, and marked the spot in my mind.  Every time I look at this world, I’ll know this.

Lastly, I did some corrections.  I wanted to edit the story to fix three common phrases that are often said in story, but shouldn’t.  Since I was asked about those phrases, here they are:  1.  Don’t start a conversation with, “So,–“; 2. Don’t use the word “Suddenly” to describe something happening suddenly, as it’s, you know, happening suddenly anyway, and there’s no need to say so; 3. “Truth be known” isn’t something that you need to know, because it’s a redundant phrase.  I’ll find the whole post later; I believe the link is on another computer.  But it’s something every writer should read.

By the time I finished writing just after 11 PM, 1,725 words were written, the novel stood at just over forty-two thousand words, and Part Thirteen was complete.  Part Fourteen awaits, and I will get into that today, ’cause I’m ready to give Meredith a shock.

She’s been a bad girl, and it’s time to show her just how interesting her Albert really is . . .